Development and Factor Structure of a Self-Report Measure for Assessing Internalizing Symptoms of Elementary-Age Children

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Psychology in the Schools







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The development and factor structure of the Internalizing Symptoms Scale for Children (ISSC), a new self-report measure for assessing internalizing symptomatology in children, is detailed. Development of the ISSC was driven by the lack of a children's self-report instrument designed specifically to assess the broad domain of internalizing symptomatology, as well as research findings showing a high degree of comorbidity among internalizing syndromes (e.g., depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, social withdrawal). Thorough and methodologically rigorous procedures were employed during the development of the ISSC to ensure strong content validity as well as clinical utility. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic procedures were utilized on the 54-item ISSC research protocol, resulting in a strong two factor solution for the 48 items retained. Factor 1, Negative Affect/General Distress, includes items that indicate the presence of internalizing symptoms, or in some cases, the absence of optimistic or functional emotional states. Factor 2, Positive Affect, includes items describing positive affect incompatible with internalizing symptoms, or in some cases, items that reflect the absence of internalizing symptoms. Results of the factor analyses are discussed in terms of previous research on affectivity and specific internalizing syndromes or disorders. Potential uses of the ISSC, as well as further research needed, are described. Implications of the present investigation for future assessment and classification studies in the area of child psychopathology are reviewed.